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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 9972

Northern Territory: Infrastructure

Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (15:02): My question is to the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. Will the minister inform the House what actions the government is taking to improve roads and infrastructure in the Northern Territory? How was the government's plan informed by the member's visit to East Arnhem Land last week?

Mr BRIGGS (MayoAssistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (15:02): It is a great privilege to answer this question from the member for Solomon, and I thank her for our first day in Darwin, on our way into Arnhem Land, when we looked at infrastructure that we are committing to around Darwin to help with growth around Palmerston and to ensure that the Northern Territory can take advantage of the growth opportunities we so desperately want. The Treasurer mentioned earlier about the commitment of this government to jobs and opportunities for all Australians.

It was a real privilege to join the Prime Minister in East Arnhem Land, and I thank the community for welcoming us into their very special part of Australia. It was a unique opportunity to understand the pressures from their perspective and what we need to do to help assist and build the infrastructure to enable those communities, not just in an economic sense but in a social sense. It was a welcome trip from our perspective, but I think it also gave the community an opportunity to provide feedback.

We are committed the Northern Territory. There is $90 million extra in the budget and the $77 million Northern Territory roads package that we announced in the budget, which will strengthen and widen roads—

Mr Dreyfus: What about something new?

Mr BRIGGS: This was new in the budget, Member for Isaacs.

Mr Albanese: It was in the 2013 budget.

Mr BRIGGS: Now, this $77 million we have put in place is new in the budget. We are also continuing with the $90 million Regional Roads Productivity Package, which is focused on Central Arnhem Road, Arnhem Link Road, and additional—

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler

Mr BRIGGS: The irrelevance of the member for Grayndler is becoming hard to bear.

An opposition member: Relevance deprivation syndrome.

Mr BRIGGS: Relevance deprivation syndrome? Honestly, just focus on South Sydney, mate. I reckon that is the only thing that is going well for you.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member will return to the question and there will be silence on my left.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence from both the member for Gorton and the member for Grayndler.

Mr BRIGGS: He has the suit from the 1990s and he is hoping for the South Sydney of the 1990s. We are focused on discussions with the Northern Territory government about additional infrastructure that can assist people in East Arnhem Land to develop not just economic infrastructure but also to develop education—

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler on a point of order.

Mr Albanese: The minister was asked about new initiatives and he has announced the $90 million that was in the—

The SPEAKER: The member will resume his seat and the minister will also resume his seat. There will be silence. I realise the member for Grayndler is a frustrated former minister in this area, but that does not give him a licence to get up and abuse the standing orders. The minister has the call.

Mr BRIGGS: The government has spoken to the Northern Territory government about additional infrastructure that will not just facilitate economic opportunities in East Arnhem Land but will ensure that communities can get to the jobs we want them to have and to the schools we want them to attend.